Michigan superintendents share thoughts on major MSU school finance study

“The research that David Arsen, professor of education policy in the MSU College of Education, studies school funding issues and related inequity and his colleagues did found local spending decisions matter, but overall the impact is small. Study authors cite changes in the school district’s per-pupil foundation allowance and their enrollment, especially where school choice and charters are prevalent.

Since Proposal A passed in 1994, Michigan has seen one of the nation’s most dramatic shifts in financial responsibility for public schools from local tax revenues to a centralized per-student funding system. Arsen said increased funds in the decade starting with 1994 and Proposal A “produced significant improvements in student achievement,” with rural districts as big winners often.”

Those achievements have lessened in more recent years, as has funding to schools in our state, he noted.